RICHMOND, B.C. — As temperatures rise across British Columbia, WorkSafeBC is reminding employers and workers of the risk of heat stress while working outdoors.
Left untreated, heat stress can lead to heat exhaustion, heat stroke and related injuries.
“With the hot weather, workers and employers need to be aware of the risks from sun exposure and heat stress. Heat stress is a preventable injury, yet last year in B.C. there were 26 accepted claims for work-related heat stress injuries,” WorkSafeBC senior manager of prevention field services Barry Nakahara said in a statement.
Employers are encouraged to change work practices and policies to limit risk, monitor heat conditions and require workers to not work alone, and determine appropriate work-rest cycles.
Employers should also rotate work activities or use additional workers to reduce exposure, establish cooling areas with shade and water, and make sure emergency procedures are in place and there is adequate first-aid coverage. Physical modifications should also be made to facilities, equipment and processes to reduce exposure.
Workers should stay hydrate, wear light-coloured and loose fitting clothing, and take rest breaks in cool, well-ventilated areas. Hard physical work should be done during the coolest parts of the day before 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. They should also check for signs and symptoms of heat stress and know their personal risk factors such as medications of pre-existing conditions.
More information on heat stress is available at worksafebc.com.